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Thousands march against Serbia’s president for 4th week

People hold a banner that reads: ''#1out of 5 million'' during a protest against populist President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018. Similar protests had been held the past three weekends in the biggest expression recently of discontent with Vucic's rule. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Thousands of people have protested in Serbia for a fourth consecutive week over what they say has been a stifling of democratic freedoms under President Aleksandar Vucic.

Demonstrators marched through central Belgrade on Saturday, carrying banners, blowing whistles and chanting “Vucic thief!” while blocking downtown traffic.

Government opponents say Vucic has imposed tight controls on mainstream media and sidelined critical voices. Vucic has denied the allegations.

The protests started after thugs beat up an opposition politician last month. Government opponents say the attack resulted from hate speech fostered by Vucic’s administration.

The recent street demonstrations have been one of the biggest expressions of discontent with the current Serbian government.

A former extreme nationalist, Vucic has said he wants to lead Serbia into the European Union.

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